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Singing & Speaking Coaching - Advanced Techniques

This is probably the most important series of voice articles you will ever read. Let’s face it, there is far more mis-information available about the voice then there is correct information. This series of articles will give you a big picture view of the voice and what goes into developing your full and unique voice

Vocal Tone / Resonance – Exercises & Tips

 

When we use our voice we use our ears and our senses to judge if the vocal tone is not clear or if the volume is off. In other words, we want to be sure that everything is coming out right.


 

We use our eyes too. We use them to check facial expressions and reactions to know if we are being understood. We want to be sure that the information we are giving out or the emotions we are feeling are being felt the way we want them to be.


A term public speakers and singers are very familiar with is “vocal resonance”. Vocal resonance is the richness and consistent smoothness the listener hears when we speak or sing. It is what gives us the tone, allows us to be expressive (not monotone or bland), stops us from flipping between having good or bad voice days and is needed for people to understand us.


But what happens when we cannot gauge our vocal tone? What happens when the expressions from people, Mr. Enthusiasm or the ultimate poker face, is not telling you what they are really thinking and feeling? The answer is simple. We learn to understand our voice and delivery of our message. Vocal resonance, like most voice skills are learned skills. If you have the right message, delivered in the right way, your listeners will understand and respond to you. It is important for us to make it easier for people to interact with us.

 

Everyone can have a resonant and confident sounding voice. But, things can stand in the way. One of those things is tension. Not the tension we feel when we get stage fright or move out of our comfort zone, we all know about that. I mean the type of tension that goes unnoticed. Tension is another way of saying “restricting”. There are things that restrict the tone and ability to convey our message; with undetected tension being one of the most common.


We may not have learned how to sense the resonant tone of our voice or monitor our delivery from the listener’s perspective yet BUT there is something we can all do right now to find out if we have any underlying, hard to detect, tension that is interfering with the tone, power, presentation and ease of our voice.


Here are two exercises and tips. What I want you to do is check in with your tongue. Yes, you read that right …. I said the tongue!


EXERCISES:


· EXERCISE #1: Think about where your tongue is positioned. The natural place for the tongue is relaxed, lying at the bottom on the mouth. The sides of the tongue should touch your back/bottom teeth. The tip of it is behind the bottom teeth and lip. Vocal tone and use will be restricted if that is not happening. If there is underlying tension, the tongue will be pressed to the roof of the mouth. If you look at the front of your tongue you may even see grooves/ridges from where the tension caused you to push your tongue into your teeth.

Try exercise #2 to get rid of the tension that makes your voice sound less than ideal and makes it hard for the listener to understand you.


· EXERCISE #2: Lie on a carpeted floor or yoga mat. Breathe in and out a few times. Pay attention to how the air moves in and out as you inhale and exhale. Next, I want you to exhale. Hold your breath out for 3 seconds; then relax. Feel the breath/inhale. The inhale happens automatically. When you breathe this way, your voice will begin to relax. Repeat this exercise as much as needed to get a good idea of how your breathing should feel. Do it as often as you need such as at the beginning or end of the day, before an important presentation/show or any time your voice feels off or strained. Your voice will have better vocal tone, power and longevity.


People often mistake manners/cordiality and friendliness for agreement. People may also think that because someone is quiet and unresponsive that they disagree with them. Eyes can be deceiving. There are many outgoing and enthusiastic people who add great energy to a room but when the meeting/show is over; you never hear from them again. That is because they were telling you what there personality is like; not what they were thinking. The same is true when you get a cold room filled with people who do not respond. You may mistakenly believe they did not understand you or that they are dis-interested. That may not necessarily be true. They may be introverted, shy or simply tired from a long day.


Working for myself since 2004, I have trained every industry imaginable. My clients are the Ontario Government including the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, banks, pharmaceuticals, technology and services based organizations such as Covenant House.  I have trained sales teams, technology teams, trained the company trainers, worked with senior executives and their staff, and human resources.


The one thing all of these organizations pride themselves in is the calibre of people they hire. They always express a need for leaders. Leaders solve problems and maximize their resources. A leader can be anyone from the most entry level position all the way up to the executive office. If you can interact with others as a leader, communicate your education and experience with an influential and confident delivery, there is no vision you have for yourself that cannot be achieved. The opportunities are there. The rest is up to you!


I hope this information serves you. I hope you have fun with it. Have a great day!


Donna Flynn

Professional Assessment - Personalized Techniques & Program

416-436-8063

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Transgender Voice Transition (Feminization / Masculinization)

Transgender voice transition, or voice feminization and voice masculinization, refers to a non-surgical development process used to modify the human voice. The transition is from either a male sounding voice to a female sounding voice, or a female sounding voice to a male sounding voice.


To talk about Transgender Voice Feminization and Masculinization it is important to understand what “transgender” is and is not. Transgender is a term used to express a person’s gender identity. That identity is not based on their assigned sex as it relates to their external physical body at birth but rather is an understanding of one’s genuine internal identity. To be transgender is to align the internal self-image and expression with the external appearance, not matching one’s birth sex.


Individuals who transition their voice do so to bring out different tone characteristics and gender appropriate expressions and delivery style that more closely matches who they are. This can be done for their own sense of well-being and as a new way of presenting themselves in society.


When working with someone on transgender voice transition, the whole person is taken into consideration, not just the voice, to condition and maintain their new feminine or masculine qualities.


The transgender person has an end goal in mind and knows how they would like to interact with others. Transgender voice transition is based on the individual’s starting point, which involves everything from their history such as genetics, behaviours like dietary practices, to emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety, and anger, along with voice and speaking techniques. These factors impact the proper or improper use of the voice; which then impacts the strength or weakness of the speaking muscles. With the beginning and ending in mind, the voice modification begins.


Surgery can be performed to alter the pitch of the voice. It does not, however, address the other vocal characteristics used during communication. For that reason, transgender people will often seek out private coaching post-op to learn how to use their voice differently from how they habitually spoke pre-op, self-monitor their vocal qualities, and understand how to best present themselves and their new voice to those around them.


HOW IT WORKS

Areas of focus include:

· Set-Point Assessment – Beginning the Journey

· Breath

· Tone

· Non-surgical pitch modification

· Sound modification

· Articulation (gender specific)

· Delivery / Expression / Body Language

· Proper use of the voice

· Long-term maintenance / hygiene


3-Core Development Guidelines:

1. Voice Technique / Development

2. Speech and Singing – Male / Female Differences, Gender Appropriate Articulation – Language

3. Communication – Verbal and Non-Verbal


A common question I am asked is, “What is pitch?” Pitch is a sound that comes from your voice. Pitch happens when we initiate the movement of the vocal cords with our breath. That movement causes vibrations to begin when we have a thought and speak that idea out loud.


Okay, let’s try it out! Think of the song “Happy Birthday.” Now, sing it silently to yourself, in your head. Next, sing it out loud. The pitches you heard when you sang it silently to yourself were probably the same pitches you sang when you sang it out loud. What you sang were the pitches you thought were the correct sounds for the birthday song. Hmmm, interesting!


Understanding the separate parts of your specific voice, such as pitch, and how it relates to the feminine and masculine, is the beginning of self-exploration and self-discovery. You gain heightened levels of awareness allowing for broader avenues of voice development, modification, and, ultimately, your personal expression.


The technical side of voice transition, which I guide you through, coupled with the delivery integral to the individual is truly a labour of love, with great personal satisfaction rewards as the minimum.

 

Call to talk about your voice and begin your personalized voice training program. You'll be glad you did!

 

Donna Flynn

Vocal Coach (Speaking & Singing Voice Training)

416-436-8063

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Sounds Good To Me – Eliminate Throat Tension - Article

As a vocal coach, I hear it all the time. I love to sing but when I do, I get hoarse and need to shout to be heard after only a few hours. Some days I just want to give up. What am I doing wrong? What can I do about it?

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The Forefront of Voice Technology - Personalized Training

Hi.  I am Vocal Coach Donna Flynn. People show up at my office with more than just goals.  They show up with dreams and goals for their future, be it career or simply to find more inner joy.  I take my role in that seriously by bringing you only the most comprehensive training tools known today.

 

3 EASY STEP APPROACH:

Step 1 Engage your Full Vocal System using 4-Key medically and scientifically developed voice principles.

Step 2 Build confidence and give a consistent delivery that you can be proud of.  Stop stage fright and anxiety in its tracks!  Learn to control your voice, develop your stage style, and connect with and inspire others, becoming fully engaged with your audience.

Step 3 Step outside the box.  This by far is the most powerful training available today.  The more you are willing to throw yourself into new territory, the greater the rewards will be.  Reach greater levels of personal excellence.  Come open to the experience, ready to discover the unexpected.

 

That's where you can view my latest coaching video "How to Go From Singing Badly to Singing Great" - Located at the bottom of my home page.

 

GET THE LEADING EDGE ADVANTAGE

Remember, all professional singers and thought leaders use coaches throughout their entire careers to advance to higher levels, creatively and technically!

Call me at 416-436-8063 and let's get started today.  You will wish you had done it sooner!

 

CRUSH Stage Fright and Anxiety in 60 Seconds - Learn How

 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

 

“Thank you Donna for so sensitively tailoring each session to my personality, talents and learning style. You calm and reassure me. Yet you also energize and encourage me. I leave each session more confident in myself and more excited for our next one.

You're a delightfully positive breath of fresh air. I just want to take big delicious gulps whenever I see you!” Jonathan Wong


“As valuable and instructive as the individual lessons are, the real gift is the takeaway of her technique.  It remains like software in your brain...an App installed for your voice. One of her lessons isn't like 10...more like 50 or 100." Barry McIntrye

 

"She helped me to see, what fifteen years of classical training could not! Genius!"
Christine Wall - Actress Movie & TV

 

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